by Bongo Mkutyukelwa
This Be The Verse
by Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
Family forms the central theme of my work in the exhibition Mourning Son. I cast my memory back to the first time I ever witnessed my father shed tears at his brother’s funeral. His brother took his own life and almost ten years later so did mine. Mourning is a recurring occurrence in my life having lost uncles, a great grandmother, my father, and my brother. This project becomes a cathartic exercise in dealing with the grief and pain that is ever looming. I engage the format of the portrait as a medium of mourning, memory and remembrance.